Evangelical, Fundamental, or both?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by thegospelgeek, Jun 16, 2010.

  1. thegospelgeek

    thegospelgeek
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    I couldn't find anything with a search so I thought I would ask. What is the difference between fundamentals and evalgelicals? The way I understand the two, fundamentalist would be a subset of evangelicalism. But most things I read seam to say they are completely different groups. I have always thought I was both but now wonder if that can be? Not that it matters.

    So, how do you define the terms? What makes one or the other? Can a person be an evangelical fundamentalist?

    Also, if you feel the terms are mutaly exclusive, when and how did the definitions become seperated?
     
  2. Ed Edwards

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    Acts 11:25-26 (Riveduta 1927 (Italian))
    Poi Barnaba se ne andò a Tarso, a cercar Saulo; e avendolo trovato, lo menò ad Antiochia. 26 E avvenne che per lo spazio d’un anno intero parteciparono alle raunanze della chiesa, ed ammaestrarono un gran popolo; e fu in Antiochia che per la prima volta i discepoli furon chiamati Cristiani.

    Acts 11:25-26 (translated from above by Google Translate):
    Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to seek Saul: and having found him, brought him to Antioch. It happened that for the space of a year attended the convocations of the church, and train a great nation, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.

    Now, I am a disciple of Jesus, the Messiah. Am I to be called a 'Cristiani' or a 'Christian'? Either one or both works for me.

    Am I to be called 'fundamental' and 'evalgelical'? Either one or both works for me.
     
  3. ReformedBaptist

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    Historically, there was no distinction. The term Evangelical was essentially synomous to the recent term Fundamentalist. The term Fundamentalist rose out the reponse of Bible-believers to modernism.

    Forgive me if I get my timelines wrong, but I don't have my recource work here. Either around the same time or a bit later, there arose a group that called themselves "New Evangelicals" and referred to the old evangelicals as fundamentalists. The term fundamentalists came, incidently, from a host of treatise written on the fundamentals of the Chrisitan faith and compiled into a multi-volume set called "The Fundamentals" You can get a copy from CBD.

    I recommend
    http://www.banneroftruth.org/pages/item_detail.php?4969

    Book Title: Old Evangelicalism - Old Truths for a New Awakening
    Author : Iain H. Murray
    Price: $ 26.00
    ISBN#: 9780851519012
    Binding: Clothbound
    Page Count : 226
    Description: Sin, regeneration, justification by Christ's righteousness, the cross, and the love of God, assurance of salvation - these are the truths that once thrilled churches and changed nations. Yet, where evangelicalism continues to affirm these truths, without such results, it is often assumed that she must have needs that cannot be met without something new.

    These addresses by Iain Murray challenge that mindset. While the Bible not history is the textbook in these pages, Murray draws on the best authors of the old evangelicalism to confirm what a glorious message the gospel is.
     
  4. Tom Butler

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    I'm guessing that some evangelicals are fundamentalists who have shed the name because of some negative connotations.

    The following was funny to me and not meant to offend anybody:

    A very liberal former college classmate and I were renewing acquaintances with another classmate whom we hadn't seen in many years. He said, "Tom's conservative but he's not fundamentalist because he's not mad at anybody."

    That gave me sort of a hint as to the image that fundamentalists were trying to shed by calling themselves evangelicals.
     
  5. Ruiz

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    I disagree that Evangelicals and fundamentalists are essentially the same. J. Greshem Machen rejected the idea of being a fundamentalist but he would have embraced an old evangelicalism to a degree. I reject modern evangelicalism and a slight portion of old Evangelicalism... I do not hold to Fundamentalism either for reasons I will describe below.

    Piper remarked about the difference in Fundamentalism and Machen (and me) in one of his books when he said:

    I would not speak of myself of a fundamentalist for that reason. I would not hold to Evangelicalism for reasons in that from the beginning it was too broadly defined in too many segments and lacked clarity. Even the NAE just holds to "innerancy of Scripture", which I believe is too broad to define any theological group, making it destined to fail.
     
  6. thegospelgeek

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    So, if I introduced you someone and said he was a fundamentalist, what would be you immediate thoughts?

    What if I introduced him as evangelical?

    Would you assume the hypothetical evangelical was better educated and less dogmatic?
     
  7. Gina B

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    I don't understand how a Christian can be a fundamentalist without being an evangelical.
    All these separations and long winded detailing of every tiny word has led to the splintering of Christinity, turning the whole religion into an inefficient, discombobulated mess with no true power.
    In our zeal to "get it right," we kinda killed ourselves. The "world" didn't change, the Christians did, and that gave evil the upper hand.
    Of course we all knew evil would start winning out, because the Bible told us that. It's just that I used to think it would be because people would get more evil, not because Christians (nearly inadvertantly) made Christianity ineffective.
     
  8. HankD

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    There is a differance in nuance of the words "evangelical" and "fundamentalist".

    nuance: a subtle difference in meaning or opinion or attitude, a difference in shades of meaning.

    To me
    "Evangelical" carries the flavor of those who are "spreading" the Gospel.
    "Fundamentalist" carries the nuance of those who are "defending" the Gospel.

    To be sure, one can do both.

    The modern problem is that the nuances of words can evolve and change in accord with the events of the passage of time.

    "Fundamentalist" has absorbed the nuance of violence and bloodshed over the last two or three decades. Unfortunately people don't distinguish between the classes of fundamentalists (Islamic, Christian, etc) but view "fundamentalist" at a group level.

    HankD
     
  9. thegospelgeek

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    I guess that is the intent of my post. The words are defined in way way but are understood in a very different way. So in reality, which is correct. What the dictionary defines a word to mean or what the general public understands the meaning?
     
  10. thegospelgeek

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    Good post. When I came to the BB I thought I was a Christian. Since I have been here I have learned that I am a Fundamental, Evangelical, Proggressive Dispensationalsit, Classical Armininan, Pre-Millinial, Pre-trib, Free Will baptist. I am sure that i am forgetting some things along the way and leaving out some of the bad things:laugh:
     
  11. exscentric

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    Fundamentalism "1 a often capitalized : a movement in 20th century Protestantism emphasizing the literally interpreted Bible as fundamental to Christian life and teaching b : the beliefs of this movement c : adherence to such beliefs"

    Evangelicalism "1 : of, relating to, or being in agreement with the Christian gospel especially as it is presented in the four Gospels
    2 : PROTESTANT
    3 : emphasizing salvation by faith in the atoning death of Jesus Christ through personal conversion, the authority of Scripture, and the importance of preaching as contrasted with ritual"

    Both from Merriam-Webster

    Fundamentalism started with men of many faiths that held to the five fundamentals of the Gospel. Evangelicalism came along a tad later, in my mind to separate a little from the fiery fundamentalists. New Evangelicalism was a reaction to both the above. Fundamental/evangelical doctrine would probably be very similar but evangelicals getting away from the strictness of lifestyle.

    New evangelicalism primarily similar doctrine but a lesser view of the Scriptures and acceptance of the charismatic influence of worship.

    Today evangelical and new evangelical are one in the same except the new has a poor view of Scripture and the evangelical would hold to a high view of the Word.

    The three still are not the same to me but many do use the terms interchangeably.
     
  12. HankD

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    IMO, one has to "play it by ear".

    I would say it depends on the listeners. In a mixed group, I avoid using the word "fundamentalist" anymore and use a euphamism like "contenders of the faith" instead of "fundamentalist".

    HankD
     
  13. Dr. Bob

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    An Evangelical believes the "Evangel" or good news of the Gospel. They would agree 100% on the basic fundamentals of the faith
    Inerrancy/inspiration of Scripture
    Deity of Jesus Christ
    Substitionary atonement for sinners and salvation by grace
    Physical resurrection of Jesus
    Literal second coming

    Fundamentalism arose in the late 1800's to combat those teaching AGAINST these same truths - liberalism, modernism and godless evolution.

    An evangelical would stand for these truths; a fundamentalist would "earnestly contend for these truths in battle.

    By the mid 1950's a NEW evangelicalism sprouted up, compromising many of the fundamentals and leading to a drift into liberalism, modernity, and evolution.
    A Friendly Attitude Toward Science. (Evolution)
    A Willingness to Re-examine Beliefs Concerning the Work of the Holy Spirit (especially in relationship to holiness experiences).
    A More Tolerant Attitude Toward Varying Views on Eschatology (a questioning of the premillennial and pretribulational position).
    A Shift Away from Extreme Dispensationalism. "The trend today is away from dispensationalism--away from the Scofield Notes...in fact, many...rarely use the word dispensation now."
    An Increased Emphasis on Scholarship.
    A More Definite Recognition of Social Responsibility.
    A Re-Opening of the Subject of Biblical Inspiration.
    A Growing Willingness of Evangelical Theologians to Converse with Liberal Theologians. "An evangelical can...profitably engage in an exchange of ideas with men who are not evangelical."

    Today, many confuse historic evangelical thought/position (which is GOOD) with the compromises of the modern new evangelical thought/position.

    It is GOOD to be evangelical, not liberal
     
  14. ReformedBaptist

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    Have you read Murray's book?
     
  15. Ruiz

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    I have not read this book by Ian, but I have read many others including Evangelicalism Divided. I, however do not believe fundamentalism and evangelicalism are synonymous as Machen and others from Old Princeton were reluctant of Fundamentalism for the reasons I outlined from Piper's book.

    If Evangelicalism is defined as Martin Lloyd Jones' book "What is an Evangelical", I would be more likely to be an evangelical. Even in Murray's book "Evangelicalism Divided" shows a strong and early division in Evangelicalism and strong disagreements with Fundamentalism.

    I, too, would have a problem with the word "fundamentalist" for the same reasons Machen had problems. I think I would have had problems with the term Evangelical for the reasons I saw outlined in Evangelicalism Divided in the late 60's or early 70's.

    So, I think early on there was not as much of an agreement among fundamentalism as some would like us to believe. By the teens and 20's there were people who saw problems and lines drawn that were not beneficial to the movement. Machen recognized they were dear brothers but would not have wanted to be called one. I, too, agree.

    I will check out Ian's book when I get done with this Masters degree. I love reading his work and more often than not agree with him.
     
  16. ReformedBaptist

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    It's possible I may have misunderstood Murray, or just am uninformed about the changes that took place. I thought that essentially evangelicals were "fundamental" on essentially five areas modernism was challenging, and so got called fundamentalists, but were more commonly known as evangelicals.

    Then there was a group of evangelicals that began to move away from some of the fundamentals, take on a more social Gospel, and reject separation. And these were called New Evangelicals which just came to be called Evangelicals.

    Certainly the term fundamentalist carries a negative connotation today. So much so, that to self-describe oneself as one carries enough baggage with it that it may even be impoper to do so as it would not communicate what we wish.

    Words are symbols and I am not sure the symbol "fundamentalist" really describes us as it may have in the past. Bible-believer seems more appropriate to me. But I have been labeled a fundie because of my view of Scripture or some other Bible doctrine.

    Certainly interesting history though.
     
  17. thegospelgeek

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    True, by definitions a fundy would be an evangelical. But I ask about our perceptions. I have asked in general but will now directly ask Dr. Bob.

    If someone says they are a fundamentalist, do you view that person different than if they use the term evangelical? In what way does your first mental impression change?

    It seams most of us define the fundy as a subset of evangelical, but do we really view them that way. It may just be me and the culture I live in, but I think that most view the term fundamentalist in a negative light. It seams to represent an uneducated, narrow minded point of view that live somewhere other than reality. What I would like for you to answer is not a text book definition, but what image comes to mind when you hear the terms.
     
  18. Ruiz

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    Not having read Ian's book, I cannot address exactly what he said. Yes, there are basically 5 fundamentals thus in a technical fashion, I would be a fundamentalist. However, fundamentalists held to more than just the 5 defining fundamentals and were known by more than those areas. That is why Machen and some at Old Princeton, while recognizing them as Godly men and friends, could not hold to their position.
     
  19. Dr. Bob

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    Gotcha - forgive the professor in me to actually try to define and help others to understand the clinical concepts!!

    When I hear fundamentalist I have three immediate divergent views and desperately need more information to process who/what the person truly believes and practices.

    1. Historic fundie. Pre-trib, pre-mil, separated, fighting against everyone and everything. Don't believe anyone or trust anyone. A bloody sword is the symbol and too bad if the blood is from stabbing someone in the back. This is the educated (kinda) type

    2. Looney-tune fundie. Add a bunch of man-made garbage to the list and become more legalistic than a pharisee. Man-followers or school-followers, lemmings or sheep at best.

    3. Old-fashioned fundie. Using 100 year outdated methodology, wearing 100 year outdated garb, speaking 100 year outdated rhetoric, using 100 year outdated translation - the world just scratches their collective heads and sighs, wishing they were real and could relate to the post-modern world in which we live.

    When I hear evangelical I think of an upscale, thinking fundamentalist who has shed the baggage of the outdated system while maintaining fidelity to the true fundamentals of the faith. And contending for them against liberalism, but not so much against other evangelicals who may have a different denominational stripe.

    I don't think of the evangelical as taking as "strong" a stand as I would on many issues, but hey, I was raised/trained fighting historic fundamentalist and have a lot of ugly baggage.

    Aside:
    Because everything about fundamentalists is negative and evangelical is wishy-washy, I do not use/claim either term (as a GROUP). I claim Reformed Baptists - strong in theology, NT in practice, fundamental in doctrine and polity, and yet part of the wonderful broad body of believers called the Church.
     
  20. brucebaptist

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    fundamental should not be considered negative.
    the historic reason why 'fundamental' seems to be negative... is because of the papal anti-christ. since their false church is non-fundamental (compared to the Bible)... they wanted to find words to make their Bible believing enemies look like crazies. for example the papal anti-christ even called Bible Christians, 'heretics'. how smart for satan to take adjectives that should positivity describe a Bible believer and label them 'fundamentals', 'heretics', etc... its actually a deception of satan. look at the definition of fundamental below.

    fun·da·men·tal (fnd-mntl)
    adj.
    1.
    a. Of or relating to the foundation or base; elementary:
    b. Forming or serving as an essential component of a system or structure;

    if a person has a 'fundamental' golf swing, are they looney? a-Rod has a 'fundamental' baseball swing, does that make him looney? ok, forget that one... :smilewinkgrin:

    you know what i am trying to say. fundamental baptists just believe the Bible... if they are looney, that has nothing to do with being fundamental....
     

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